by Judith Curry

Politics versus science in attributing extreme weather events to manmade global warming.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I was scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Jun 12 [link].  The subject of the Hearing is Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.

Late on Jun 10, I received an email telling me that the Hearing is postponed (as yet unscheduled).  Apparently the Committee finds it more urgent to have a Hearing related to holding the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress [link].  Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.

So I spent all last week working on my testimony (which is why there have been no new blog posts).  I hope the Hearing will eventually happen (Michael Mann is also scheduled to testify).

Hurricanes and climate change constitute a major portion of my testimony.  You may recall my recent series  on Hurricanes & climate change [link].  Specifically with regards to detection and attribution, my bottom line conclusion was:

“In summary, the trend signal in hurricane activity has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes. Manmade climate change may have caused changes in hurricane activity that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of these changes compared to estimated natural variability, or due to observational limitations. But at this point, there is no convincing evidence that manmade global warming has caused a change in hurricane activity.”

I’m sure many would dismiss this conclusion as ‘denial’, in spite of the extensive documentation and logic of my arguments. Lets dig into:

  • the latest from the hurricane researchers
  • ‘storylines’ from non-hurricane researchers
  • why blaming extreme events on AGW is important in ‘winning’ the public debate
  • what happens when scientists get in the way of AGW activist ‘scare stories’ about extreme events
  • ‘scaring the children’ strategies

New review paper – Knutson et al.

Earlier this week I spotted an in press review article entitled Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change Assessment:  Part I. Detection and Attribution  [link].

There are 10 coauthors on the paper:

“The authors of this report include some former members of the expert team for the WMO 2010 assessment (Knutson et al. 2010) along with current membership of a WMO Task Team on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. The Task Team members were invited to become   members by the WMO World Weather Research Program’s Working Group on Tropical Meteorology Research.”

Excerpts from the Summary:

<begin quote>

“In this assessment, we have focused on the question: Can an anthropogenic influence on TC activity be detected in past data? We explore this question from two perspectives: avoiding/reducing either Type I or Type II errors, since we presume that different audiences will have different preferences on which type of error should be avoided to a greater extent.

Using the conventional perspective of avoiding Type I error, the strongest case for a detectable change in TC activity is the observed poleward migration of the latitude of maximum intensity in  the northwest Pacific basin, with eight of 11 authors rating the observed change as low-to-medium confidence for detection (with one other author having medium and two other authors having medium-to-high confidence). A slight majority of authors (six of 11) had only low confidence that anthropogenic forcing had contributed to the poleward shift. The majority of the author team also had only low confidence that any other observed TC changes represented either detectable changes or attributable anthropogenic changes.

Regarding storm surge, our expectation is that a widespread worsening of total inundation levels during storms is occurring due to the global mean sea level rise associated with anthropogenic warming, assuming all other factors equal, although we note that no TC climate change signal has been convincingly detected in sea level extremes data. To date, there is not convincing evidence of a detectable anthropogenic influence on hurricane precipitation rates, in contrast to the case for extreme precipitation in general, where some anthropogenic influence has been detected.

The relatively low confidence in TC change detection results from several factors, including: observational limitations, the smallness of the expected human-caused change (signal) relative to the expected natural variability (noise), or the lack of confident estimates of the expected signal and noise levels.”

<end quote>

JC comments: This paper illustrates an approach that is very unusual in the annals of climate change assessments.  The sea level rise community is also using expert elicitation (e.g. Bamber et al.).  Expert elicitation and and expert structured judgment  is much preferred over ‘consensus seeking’.  The Knutson et al. paper is distinguished by clearly explaining the evidence and and arguments that the individual scientists are considering, and in the Supplementary Information also showing individual responses.

Experts disagree on most aspects of climate change.  Why do they disagree?  I have covered this extensively before, the main reasons are summarized as:

  • Insufficient & inadequate observational evidence
  • Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. paleoclimate reconstructions, models)
  • Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence
  • Assessments of areas of ambiguity & ignorance
  • Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science

The specific reasons for disagreement on a given issue need to be clarified, which the Knutson paper does.  Distinguishing between Type I and II errors is also useful, which clearly identifies the speculative issues as scientifically informed speculation.


ATTP has a joint blog post with philosopher Eric Winsberg entitled Extreme weather event attribution.

<begin quote>

Eric has just published, together with Naomi Oreskes and Elisabeth Lloyd, a paper called Severe Weather Event Attribution: Why values won’t go away. The paper discusses the issue of how one might assess the anthropogenic influence on an extreme weather event. This post describes what was presented in the paper and tries to justify why there may be value in approaching this issue from more than one perspective.

A complementary approach is to consider a storyline. For example, given that an event has occured, how might climate change have influenced this event? If the air was warmer, then we may expect enhanced precipitation. If sea surface temperatures are high, then we may expect a tropical cyclone to be more intense. The focus here tends to be on the thermodynamics (i.e., the energy) and to take the dynamics as given (i.e., the event happened).

It turns out, though, that the story-line approach has been rather controversial, with many who favour more formal detection and attribution being highly critical. They argue that it could lead to more false positives and that taking the dynamics as given ignores that dynamical factors could actually work to make some events less likely. Essentially, they argue that the storyline approach may over-estimate anthropogenic influences, potentially mistaking natural variability as being anthropogenic.

The problem, though, is that although the two approaches are complementary, they’re not actually quite addressing the same issue. The detection and attribution approach is essentially trying to determine how anthropogenic-driven climate change influences the probability of a specific class of event. The storyline approach, on the other hand, is more looking at how anthropogenically-driven climate change might have influenced an event that has actually occurred. There is no real reason why we should prefer one approach over the other; they can both play an important role in aiding our understanding of how anthropogenic influences impact extreme weather events.

<end quote>

JC comment:  The epistemic status of formal detection and attribution approaches, versus the storyline approach, should be obvious to all CE readers.

The ‘storyline’ approach is useful for posing hypotheses for for further investigation (and avoiding possible Type II errors).  However, these ‘storylines’ are generally posed by climate researchers rather than by meteorological experts on that particular type of extreme weather.

In any event, using such storylines, and claiming (even implicitly) that they are part of the AGW ‘consensus’ is scientifically dishonest.

Roger Pielke Jr’s story

As scientists are interviewed following each hurricane, speculative storylines about hurricanes and global warming abound in the public discourse on climate change.  Some of these manage to get published.  However, nearly all get knocked back by serious assessments.

As an example, recall the ‘storyline’ whereby Hurricane Sandy (wind speeds equivalent to a Cat 1 hurricane at landfall) was influenced by some magical steering effect associated with AGW that steered to the storm to New York City.  Well, the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment Report tackled this one head on (Appendix C, Box C.2) and concluded:

“[T]here is low confidence in determining the net impact to date of anthropogenic climate change on the risk of Sandy-like events, though anthropogenic sea level rise, all other things equal, has increased the surge risk.”

For a more complete discussion, see my previous blog post on hurricanes and attribution to climate change.

Roger Pielke Jr. has been tireless in calling out scientists and others who make statements attributing hurricane impacts to climate change, citing the IPCC and other national/international assessments.

For this, Roger Pielke Jr has been massively attacked and ostracized.  See this recent article by Ross McKitrick that appeared in the Financial Post “This scientist proved climate change isn’t causing extreme weather — so politicians attacked“:

“Roger Pielke Jr. is a scientist at University of Colorado in Boulder who, up until a few years ago, did world-leading research on climate change and extreme weather. He found convincing evidence that climate change was not leading to higher rates of weather-related damages worldwide, once you correct for increasing population and wealth. He also helped convene major academic panels to survey the evidence and communicate the near-unanimous scientific consensus on this topic to policymakers. For his efforts, Pielke was subjected to a vicious, well-funded smear campaign backed by, among others, the Obama White House and leading Democratic congressmen, culminating in his decision in 2015 to quit the field.”

If you are unfamiliar with the details of all this, they are quite chilling.  RPJr has prepared a twitter thread on his talk ‘Extreme Weather and Extreme Politics” which is a must read.  Incidents include:

  • the coordinated effort of the Center for American Progress to get RPJr fired from his position on 538
  • shenanigans (corruption, really) in the IPCC AR4 Section that passed off an unpublished graph as being published and miscited it, so that they could claim an influence of warming on disaster losses
  • Grijalval inquisition
  • Dr John Holdren (President Obama’s Director of Office of Science, Technology and Policy) posted a screed on the White House web page against RPJr and his findings on disasters and climate change, which were highly inappropriate (not to mention scientifically incorrect).

Why extreme events matter in the climate debate

Why is attributing extreme events (or not) to AGW such a big deal?  Well, the reason for this became apparent to me following Hurricane Katrina (2005), in the heyday of the hurricanes and global warming argument.

Lets face it, in 2005 the public found it very hard to care about 1 degree or even 4 degrees of warming — heck, the temperatures varied by that much on a day-to-day basis.  If they wanted a slightly warmer or cooler climate, they could always move a few hundred miles to the north or south.

However, arguments that a relatively small amount of global warming (order 1 C) could result in more intense hurricanes, well that got their attention, particularly as the U.S. was reeling from Katrina catastrophe.

The AGW activists now had new weapon in their arsenal — attributing extreme weather events to manmade climate change.  The ‘will to act’ seemed tied to alarmism about extreme weather events.  Which  provides a key political role for unsupported ‘storylines’ about extreme weather events.

Scaring the children

A corollary to this activist strategy is to scare school children, and enlist their help in politicizing the issue of climate change and extreme events and also convincing their parents.

The poster child for this is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.  Several relevant articles on scaring the children over climate change:

The obvious issue is that teachers should educate children about climate science and not scare them witless about the apocalypse.  The less obvious issue is the harm done by scaring children.

The other glaring example of this is the Juliana v. United States lawsuit, filed by school children (with the help of Jim Hansen and some activist organizations.)  Extreme events figure prominently in what the children are worried about.

I sympathize with Greta Thunberg and the other scared children.  I have my own ‘scaring children’ story to relate.

Back circa 1960, the ‘scary story’ was Russians taking over the U.S. through nuclear war or via infiltrating the U.S.  This scary story was conveyed to me on a weekly basis by a nun in my Saturday Catechism class (Catholic Church).  I was well and duly scared by all this.  In fact I worried alot about this.  When one of my parents was late to come home from shopping or an outing, I was worried that they got captured by the Russians.

In fact I worried about all this so much that I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer at the ripe old age of 8 years old.  In discussing this with my doctor (who had been apprised by my parents that I was a ‘worrier’), he told me I had nothing to worry about, and in any event there was nothing I could do about all this as a kid.  And that I should enjoy my childhood.  I said ‘ok’, and that was pretty much the end of my worrying about the Russians.

(Note:  all this worrying was brought back into my memory by watching the TV show ‘The Americans’ which is absolutely fascinating.

Unlike Greta et al., I was told by responsible adults to stop worrying.  In the case of Greta et al., they are cheered on by adults who find these children to be very useful in their propaganda efforts.


So where does all this leave us in the climate debate?  There is very little  in the way of extreme weather events that can convincingly be attributed to manmade global warming, even if you are assuming that all of the recent warming is manmade.

Global warming activists will continue use extreme events as an argument against fossil fuels, even though there is little to no evidence to support this.  Without this argument, there is very little left to worry about in the near term regarding AGW, apart from the slow creep of sea level rise.

The shenanigans of activists and politicians in this regard are not surprising.  What is horrifying is the way that schoolchildren are being used (and arguably harmed) in the interests of supporting the activists’ propaganda.

And finally, the silence of scientists who should know better, especially among those who have a vocal public presence (e.g. media interviews, twitter) is very disturbing.  Although who among them would want to suffer the hassles and osctracism suffered by RPJr, myself and others.

The ‘establishment’ community of climate scientist activists has much to answer for.  But insatiable media market for ‘fake news’ regarding extreme weather events assures them of a path of continued professional success for spouting alarmism regarding extreme weather events.

225 responses to “Extremes

  1. Richie Allen had a great bit on where the Global Larceny project is heading.
    Time = 17:00 min if it doesn’t translate.

  2. Sanity strikes again. Thank you Dr. Curry.

      • Sea-level is falling at Stockholm:

        That’s because the globally averaged sea-level trend is so minuscule that (thanks to PGR) at Stockholm the land is rising much faster than the ocean.

        Globally, the average sea-level trend is positive, but it is so tiny that in many places it is exceeded by local processes, like erosion, sedimentation, and vertical land motion.

        Coastal sea-level trends are not accelerating, either. That’s unfortunate for Stockholm, because global sea-level rise acceleration would be helpful there, because it would reduce their dredging expenses.

      • Russell Seitz

        A squirrel !

        the global sea level effect of PGR is dwarfed by the thermal expansion of the oceans – at all level of reasonable response to present and near future AGW.

      • Russell, please quantify your “… present and near future AGW.” impacts on average SLR.

      • Russell

        You are quite right about Thermal expansion. My cup of tea was a little cool so I warmed it up half a degree in the microwave and now the house is flooded.


      • Russ
        The only explanation for this very flat trend is that someone must have put chillers in Sydney Harbor

        In a thread below I was going to link to several contemporary newspaper articles about heat waves in Sydney and surrounding environs in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries but it’s obvious they were bogus since Australia hasn’t been feeling the effects of thermal expansion in their water (or any kind of thermal) for a very long time.

      • Russell Seitz

        If Dave Fair multiplies the combined area of the shoal Baltic & Hudson’s Bay by the rate of sea floor rebound, he will find the annual volume of water displacement is at most a few cubic kilometers.

        If he then multiplies the volume of the deep oceans , which is about a billion times that amount, by the thermal expansion coefficient of water, he will discern that he has asked a very silly question.

      • The Peltier estimate (which most people use) for the net effect of ocean floor movement (including uplift in some places, but subsidence in most) is -0.3 mm/yr sea-level trend = 106 km³/yr. (Note: I’m not aware of any estimate of error bounds for that figure.)

        I.e., it has an effect on sea-level which is equivalent to removing 106 cubic km of water from the oceans each year.

        That 0.3 mm/yr global effect is small compared to the >5 mm/yr of ongoing uplift of the land at Stockholm (also due to PGR).

        For comparison, Greenland is thought to lose about 200 Gt of ice in an average year (equivalent to 200 km³/yr of fresh water), though it has lost none at all in either of the last two glaciological years. 200 Gt of meltwater causes just over 0.5 mm of global sea-level rise.

        That’s comparable to the effect of thermal expansion on globally averaged sea-level, but that’s a local effect.

        That surprises many people. The reason sea-level rise due to thermal expansion in the upper layer of the ocean (where most thermal expansion occurs) is local, is that because gravity balances mass, not volume. (That’s also why ships’ displacements are given in units of mass, rather than volume.)

        Such sea-level rise occurs only where the water warms. Such localized sea-level rise affects the satellite altimetry measurements, but it does not affect sea-level elsewhere, because it causes no net lateral flows of water.

        (Caveat: if the density of the water at the sea floor were to change, that would affect sea-level everywhere, much like raising or lowering the sea floor, itself, would do. However, in practice, there’s hardly any of that. Most ocean warming is surface warming.)

        Suppose, for example, that the upper layer of a region in the middle of the Indian Ocean were to warm substantially, and expand accordingly. You might think that the raised water would “run downhill” and affect global sea-level, but that’s not what would happen. What would actually happen is a roughly circular flow at the boundaries, with surface water flowing “downhill” away from the elevated area of reduced density, and exactly the same mass of higher-density water flowing into the area of reduced density, at depth. The net effect is a gradual spreading of the area of reduced density, but no effect on sea-level beyond where that spreading occurs.

        For example, if an area of ocean surface water warms by about 3°C, its density will be reduced by about 0.1%, and it will bulge up proportionately. If there were a barrier to prevent flow between the two areas, it would be perfectly stable with the low-density liquid’s surface higher than the high-density liquid’s surface, as in this demonstration:

        Alternately, if the low-density water is frozen, that will also prevent flow between the two areas, just as effectively.

        OTOH, if there’s no barrier, and the water is liquid, then along the boundaries of the warm (low-density) section there will be a slight more-or-less rotational flow, a mixing action between the warm and cold waters. The warmer water flows away from the warm section at the surface, and the cooler, denser return flow is toward the warm section farther down. That slight rotational flow works to gradually spread the warm spot (as does normal ocean wind and wave action), but the flows to and from the warm section are balanced, so there’s still no net flow of water away from the warm spot, and no effect on sea-level at distant harbors. Sea-level is affected only where the water is warmer.

        The spreading action is very gradual, though. If the warm spot is 1/3 the size of the Indian Ocean, the temperature-driven flows at its boundary have negligible effect on the size of the warm spot, over a reasonable amount of time.

  3. Curious George

    There is an interesting book
    on how to handle everyday situations when we simply don’t have enough data for an informed decision. It explains rules of thumb to use. I see it also as a way to give a hasty conclusion a scientific glitter.

  4. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Multiple lines of evidence point to one or more moderately nearby supernovae, with the strongest signal at ∼2.6 Ma. We build on previous work to argue for the likelihood of cosmic ray ionization of the atmosphere and electron cascades leading to more frequent lightning and therefore an increase in nitrate deposition and wildfires. The potential exists for a large increase in the prehuman nitrate flux onto the surface, which has previously been argued to lead to CO2 drawdown and cooling of the climate. Evidence for increased wildfires exists in an increase in soot and carbon deposits over the relevant period. The wildfires would have contributed to the transition from forest to savanna in northeast Africa, long argued to have been a factor in the evolution of hominin bipedalism.
    During the periods of galactic radiation increase, one can expect an increase in electric discharges and the increase of fires on Earth.

  5. One more. This guy has a poweful (postmodern or pre-postmodern) critique of the science apparatus:

    Thus science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits. And as the accepting and rejecting of ideologies should be left to the individual it follows that the separation of state and church must be supplemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution. Such a separation may be our only chance to achieve a humanity we are capable of, but have never fully realised.

    • A few days ago I downloaded the RCPs and compared them with HADCRUT, made a few Excel graphs, and used them to explain to one of the hybrid global warming-marxist extremists that net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 didn’t appear necessary, and I got jumped on because my graphs weren’t peer reviewed, and that anyhow we had to get down to zero because “the scientists already decided it”. I imagine people like that must have traumatized children who get hysterical whenever it rains hard.

      • No scientist will admit that voting plays a role in his subject. Facts, logic, and methodology alone decide – this is what the fairy-tale tells us.

        We see: facts alone are not strong enough for making us accept, or reject, scientific theories, the range they leave to thought is too wide; logic and methodology eliminate too much, they are too narrow. In between these two extremes lies the ever-changing domain of human ideas and wishes. And a more detailed analysis of successful moves in the game of science (‘successful’ from the point of view of the scientists themselves) shows indeed that there is a wide range of freedom that demands a multiplicity of ideas and permits the application of democratic procedures (ballot-discussion-vote) but that is actually closed by power politics and propaganda. This is where the fairy-tale of a special method assumes its decisive function. It conceals the freedom of decision which creative scientists and the general public have even inside the most rigid and the most advanced parts of science by a recitation of ‘objective’ criteria and it thus protects the big-shots (Nobel Prize winners; heads of laboratories, of organisations such as the AMA, of special schools; ‘educators’; etc.) from the masses (laymen; experts in non-scientific fields; experts in other fields of science): only those citizens count who were subjected to the pressures of scientific institutions (they have undergone a long process of education), who succumbed to these pressures (they have passed their examinations), and who are now firmly convinced of the truth of the fairy-tale.

        Only the priesthood gets to speak!

  6. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Carbon-14 is produced in the upper layers of the troposphere and the stratosphere by thermal neutrons absorbed by nitrogen atoms. When cosmic rays enter the atmosphere, they undergo various transformations, including the production of neutrons. The resulting neutrons (1n) participate in the following reaction:

    The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 49,000 ft) and at high geomagnetic latitudes.

    The rate of 14C production can be modelled, yielding values of 16,400[12] or 18,800[13] atoms of 14C per second per square meter of the Earth’s surface, which agrees with the global carbon budget that can be used to backtrack,[14] but attempts to measure the production rate directly in situ were not very successful. Production rates vary because of changes to the cosmic ray flux caused by the heliospheric modulation (solar wind and solar magnetic field), and due to variations in the Earth’s magnetic field.
    The problem of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) effects on the lower stratosphere and its composition becomes increasingly important in the scientific research. It has grea-test importance in the i nvesti gation of the ozone O3 state. During the 60s and 70s some authors as analyze this problem from the point of view of ozone des-truction by GCR. For the investigation of these processes the formation of nitrogen oxydes and their role in the O3 destruction have been taken into account. The processes are describ ed in details in P . A great interest presents also the ozone formation under the influence of GCR. It is well known that the unique source of charged par-ticles i n the lower stratosphere are the GCR, which consist from protons, a-particles and heavier nuclei (Z>3) with energy >1—2 GeV/nucI. The GCR depose their energy mainly at a height of 10-20 km, where the maximum of the air ionization (maximum of Pfotzer) is. This ionization takes place In the lower stratosphere, where the photo-dissociation rate decr eases ess entially and becomes comparable, even less than the CR ionization rate. At the same time the charged particles are already able for reactions in the atmosphere, whose constant reactions rate is greater with one or two orders than the respective value of free radical processes . The GCR are a source of ozone formation in the lower stratosphere, because of radiol ysis in the oxygen mole-cules. In this way two mechanisms of ozone formation from GCR are observed: first, the radiolysis of the oxygen molecules; second, a participation of ions in the ion -molecular processes in the stratosphere.

  7. This paragraph was in a letter-to-the-editor published in the Sunday Denver Post, June 2, 2019.

      “We burn fossil fuels today and the stuff lingers in the atmosphere for generations, heating up the air and the oceans. Damage is already done; people are already dying, storms are worse, rains heavier, droughts droughtier and forests in flames, just as predicted decades ago.”

    Unbiased scientists have an uphill fight.

  8. Ireneusz Palmowski

    In addition to being extra wet, the mesosphere has also been a bit colder than usual, according to MLS data. The combination of wet and cold has created favorable conditions for icy noctilucent clouds.

    Harvey and her colleagues are still working to understand how the extra water got up there. One possibility involves planetary wave activity in the southern hemisphere which can, ironically, boost the upwelling of water vapor tens of thousands of miles away in the north. The phenomenon could also be linked to solar minimum, now underway. It is notable that the coldest and wettest years in the mesosphere prior to 2018 were 2008-2009–the previous minimum of the 11-year solar cycle.
    30-day loop of analyzed 10-hPa temperatures and anomalies.

  9. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Despite the fact that the magnetic activity of the Sun at the end of cycle 24 was normal, solar dynamo are still surprising scientists.

  10. Ireneusz Palmowski

    When the large solar eruptions blow away the galactic cosmic rays before they reach Earth they cause a reduction in atmospheric ions of up to about 20 to -30 percent over the course of a week. So if ions affect cloud formation it should be possible to observe a decrease in cloud cover during events when the Sun blows away cosmic rays, and this is precisely what is done in this study.

  11. I remember cowering in the school halls, arms over our heads to practice protection from Russian missiles. I took the Club or Rome’s apocalyptic projections serious for a few years. I wonder if those of us who trusted the “authorities” and worried more than most others did, are now less inclined than those others to give lip service to today’s fear-mongers.

    • The nuclear war threat was very real, although nowadays a Chinese strike using devices they sell to the world is a bigger threat. But the biggest threat the US faces right now is a new generation with communist and anti democratic tendencies.

      • Good distinction. But I think the original point stands. The nuclear threat was real, but as children we were forced to participate in pointless and useless “protective” measures. I suppose these measures were not proposed by those experts who might have had some expertise in the appropriate fields of study, but rather were advanced by those with an agenda that was not really focused on the immediate impacts of bombs on school kids.

        It’s not just skepticism against the threats but also the “remediation” measures as well. The whole package of “we see a problem that is bad and here is what you must do” mentality. With Climate the “experts” have identified a problem and a set of solutions. Unfortunately the “experts” do not understand the impacts/pointlessness of their proposed solutions as they are not experts in those fields.

        Nuclear bombs, club of Rome, Climate, etc I’m skeptical of those who see disaster looming and know just what I should do.

      • The joke when I was a child was bend over, put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye. Surely you didn’t believe you could survive a direct strike?

        Just as surely these neo-reds under the bed are no more than a 5% fringe.

      • I don’t know why Mr. Ellison felt the need to recast something in a way not said or implied and then use it to question my intelligence as a six year old, but that lines up with his usual MO. He moves the discussion to surviving a “direct” strike which is no way a part of anything said before. The drills were supposed to provide some benefit for those outside the direct attack but within some unspecified intermediate range of the attack. Outside of Mr. Ellison I doubt anyone has ever suggested these were drills that would help survive a direct strike. I do suspect that Mr, Ellison is more savvy, informed and aware of so much more today than I was at 6, so if he is going to insult my 6 year old self he should at least fight fair and not use unwarranted assumptions.

      • If you believe that this has some relevance to climate extremes or politics then I doubt your current capacities.

      • But so opposed to pointless and useless there might have been some benefit outside of the strike zone? You are all over the place with your morality tales.

    • What’s also interesting is watching “experts” climb down from their alarmism. Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” was laughably inaccurate, but he swears he was right.
      All the very thoughtful people who were appalled by the lunatic Ronald Reagan’s stance toward Russia and published nuclear winter studies, are remarkably calm about the prospect of nukes in the hands of the ayatollah of Iran.
      You could make a very good case that today’s renewables policies – in Europe in particular – were bad bets on “expert” peak oil forecasts. In other words, mistakes they either need to double-down on or quietly extricate themselves from.

      Each of these cases features actual experts versus political “experts”. People working in agriculture didn’t forecast millions would starve in the US in the ’80s, gas and oil industry scientists weren’t predicting collapse, and planning engineers aren’t powering New York City with windmills and solar panels. All of these “ideas” are coming from advocates who, remarkably, suffer no consequence at all for gross inaccuracy. In fact it’s often a plus. You wouldn’t be wrong to say Ehrlch became more in demand in academia with the utter failure of his book.

  12. The latest example of storylines about extremes that are “scientifically dishonest” is Kate Marvel’s latest blog post in Sciam, claiming that we are “Creeping Toward Permanent Drought”.

    See twitter thread ending here:

    • Threatened Dismantling of Society

      This is not about the Fed or monetary policy. It’s about a comprehensive switch to renewables.

      Given that virtually everything we do and use uses energy, and that renewables are 2-3 times the cost of fossil energy, what proportion of the economy will need to be expended on this ? What sort of drop in living standards can we expect to sacrifice? How much of our lives will be dismantled ?

      30 % ?

  13. Over the last 15 years I have accumulated hundreds if not thousands of weather related reports dating back to 1086AD culled from such sources as the Met Office, Cathedrals and local records offices.. 1086 being the date of the Domesday book when a proper inventory of land and equipment was taken and we could learn such interesting things as the number of oxen and ploughs used to farm land at altitudes impossible to farm today.

    Whilst there are good reports of weather before this date they need to be carefully examined as many have an element of superstition or legend or religion about them. Roman reports are pretty reliable though

    There is no doubt that we are currently living in a relatively benign climate with few of the extremes of rain, snow, heat, or cold, we can readily observe in earlier centuries.

    One curious thing is that the wettest and stormiest times appear to occur during the colder spells, which seems at odds with the notion that extra warmth generates extra energy for storms and that a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture.


    • Tony,

      Many extreme climate phenomena are a manifestation of energy available to perform work. That energy is moving as heat transported by mass along the latitudinal temperature gradient between the equator and the poles. The steeper that gradient the more energy has to be moved through it and the more energy is available to perform work resulting in more frequent climate extreme phenomena. Proxies are very clear that storminess was a lot higher in the North Atlantic and Western Mediterranean during the Little Ice Age. This agrees well with historical reports. Already Christopher Columbus had one of his ships destroyed by a Caribbean cyclone on his first voyage in 1492, and during the colonization of the Carib, colonial cities were frequently destroyed by cyclones, leading to lots of rebuilding and prompting the relocation of many of them to less exposed locations.

      Modern global warming has caused a decrease in storminess over the past 300 years. This is shown by multiple studies, many of them cited in Modern data indicates the decrease continues, as Roger Pielke Jr has showed.

      Costas et al. 2016 in their figure 10 show the result of 17 published studies identifying the LIA as one of the stormiest periods of the Late Holocene.
      Costas, S., Naughton, F., Goble, R. and Renssen, H., 2016. Windiness spells in SW Europe since the last glacial maximum. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 436, pp.82-92.

      The idea that global warming is going to increase storminess is contrary to evidence. It is an example of story-line made into assumption. We should expect that global warming should decrease storminess. The only extreme weather phenomenon that should be expected to increase with global warming is the intensity of heat waves.

      • And precipitation. But that’s probably a good thing, the vast majority of extreme precipitation is beneficial. Harmful extreme precipitation is far in the tails. There’s this ridiculous assumption that tails get fatter.

        It seems that the distribution can skew right, but tails actually get thinner.

        Hence the reality of increasing extreme precipitation and no increase (slight decrease?) in flooding during the warming era.

      • Javier

        Thanks for that. So I know that climate was more extreme in the colder times. You know that. Scientists appear to know that.

        So how has the overwhelming narrative arisen that as we warm the extremes will become far worse.

        Some of our young are positively nihilistic about the future and quoting that we are already seeing much more extreme weather than in the past and that in effect the planet will become uninhabitable

        The post just above by Paul Matthews follows a twitter conversation which is truly disturbing. There are a lot of very scared people out there demanding we dismantle civilisation based on their absorbing scare stories over the years.

        When 16 year olds who can see co2 become folk heroes then science is truly in trouble.

        As for more heat waves, maybe, but again the curious thing is that some of the worst heat waves were juxtaposed with the coldest weather. An extremely cold winter didn’t prevent a very hot summer either the same year or the following one.


      • So how has the overwhelming narrative arisen that as we warm the extremes will become far worse.

        Because it helps the purpose and is very difficult to refute in modern data.

        Some of our young are positively nihilistic about the future

        Not only the young. Judeo-Christian tradition is rooted in apocalyptic views so even atheists from Western countries have that cultural background that predisposes to beliefs that we are damaging the world beyond repair. Climate doom simply fits in.

        then science is truly in trouble

        Science does not fit very well within human condition. Humans are plagued by biases and require a belief system. Most people are happier with superstition. Scientists are just like the rest, and tend to adapt their views about science to the predominant views. When the Bible was a source of authority geologists saw evidence of the Great Flood in the boulders transported by glaciers. Lysenkoism gained great political support and dominated science in many communist countries because it fit into the revolutionary agricultural collectivization efforts, despite being counterproductive. Climate science is neo-Lysenkoist.

      • At least in the US there is not an increase in Heat Waves.

        No one has demonstrated to me an increase in any aspect of extremes.

        Extreme imagination………maybe.

      • afonzarelli

        The post just above by Paul Matthews follows a twitter conversation which is truly disturbing. There are a lot of very scared people out there demanding we dismantle civilisation based on their absorbing scare stories over the years.

        This is just a scare story in an of itself. Civilization is not going to be dismantled just because there are a lot of very scared people out there. Politics has its own set of negative feedbacks, the ballot box being one. (there are a lot more people out there who are scared of those very scared people than there are very scared people to begin with) We can rest assured that nothing is going to come of this other than positive things. i personally think that this global obssession now with energy is a healthy thing. After all, it is energy that makes the world go round. (so why not focus our attention on it, right?) As Javier has mentioned time and time again, & with graphs that demonstrate it, we’re eventually going to run out of oil anyway. So why not obssess over the energy security that we need to preserve civilization going forward? And in the process of this energy obssession we ultimately keep inflation down through lower production costs which leads to lower inflation which, in turn, leads to greater economic growth. Anybody remember the high cost of energy a decade ago? (or are our memories really that short?) Andbody remember george w. bush crawling to opec, begging for them to put more oil on the market? And then candidate hillary clinton threatening to sue opec? My how economic times have changed. Just read in the paper yesterday that gasoline prices are going down again. Inflation is low, the unemployment rate is also at a fifty year low (and we have our energy obssession to thank for it)…

      • And in the process of this energy obssession we ultimately keep inflation down through lower production costs which leads to lower inflation which, in turn, leads to greater economic growth.

        Looks like i bungled something here (but, i think you get fonzie’s drift… ☺️)

      • Andbody should read Anybody

      • afonzarelli

        I suspect that you are American. Energy prices in Europe are certainly not going down, not helped by very high taxation rates. Our Petrol is around £1.30 per gallon

        High energy costs impact on everything and this current scare is making waves at a very high level in Europe and Britain as European politicians fawn over St Greta whilst children go on climate strike and extinction rebellion paralyse cities, helped by compliant authorities who don’t want to upset the right on masses

        Our mad prime minister wants us to become a zero carbon economy by 2050, blithely ignoring the trillion pound costs that her own chancellor has said would be the result..

        if countries have very high energy costs then after efficiency savings have been made there comes the inevitable export of manufacturing jobs to countries where the costs are not as great.

        The ballot box is great but many of the illogical protestors are not of an age to vote and believe if they don’t do something now then civilisation will fall apart. This has become religious fanaticism and people won’t discuss reason.


      • Ceresco kid

        that is partly my point, no one has demonstrated that these extremes are actually happening, yet it has become accepted that they are.

        I suspect Javier is correct in as much we are dealing with a religious cult who with a messianic stare know they must be right and are rooted in the notion of apocalypse being the norm. ‘The end of the world is nigh’ syndrome..

      • Tony, your high gas prices are no higher than they were at the dawn of the decade in 2011. (draw the same comparison between 2001 and the high price of gas in 2008 when world wide demand was so high) And inflation in the U.K. stands at a whopping 2.1%. And, yes, here in the states gas prices are at unprecedented lows for this stage in the boom/bust cycle. (and our inflation rate is a mere 2% as well) All that the green madness has done is to keep inflation in check during this boom cycle which will allow for greater economic growth, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in half a century. Now, i can’t say exactly how this will all play out in Europe. But, here in the states and world wide on the whole, we’re looking at good economic times probably for a longer duration than we’re used to given the nature of the boom/bust cycle. This, thanks to overall cheaper energy a la the green revolution

      • Afonzarelli, the fall in oil prices when Venezuelan production is in free fall, Iranian production is being hit by sanctions and global oil production has decreased for the past months is worrisome. The most likely explanation is that an economic crisis is expected to reduce demand below the decrease in production.

      • Ulric Lyons

        The warm AMO phase during centennial solar minima reduces the temperature gradient between the equator and the north pole.

      • afonzarelli

        Javier, it looks like we’ll have the (U.S.) Federal Reserve coming to the rescue. Since there is no issue with inflation — it’s well below their 3-4% comfort range* — they can go as low and as fast as they want to go with rate cuts. Trump’s handpicked fed chair was a disappointment, even to Trump. (but that’s life in the big city) We’ll see if markets respond as they always luv rate cuts. My guess is that if we survive this one, then the fed won’t be so foolish going forward. The unemployment rate had been stalled for about a year because of unnecessary rate hikes, though under fairly robust growth still. But, if inflation is low, then let it grow! Should the economy tank, then this one can be blamed squarely on the fed. No reason for this to have happened in the first place. It’s not expected to tank, though. Should the U.S. recover lost momentum, hopefully the world will follow suit, too. (and hopefully as well, fed chair powell will have learned his lesson)…

        *a decade+ ago, chairman bernanke was caught between a rock and a hard place with a stalled unemployment rate and high inflation presumably due to sky rocketing energy prices. So he was forced to perform a precarious balancing act. Cheap energy, low inflation this time round gives the fed the luxury of more robust growth in a boom which should easily stave off a recession.

      • Slightly more extreme heat. Slightly more extreme precipitation. Drought decreasing.

        Much less extreme winters.

        Geert Jan van Oldenborgh is a highly recommended follow

      • Javier/afonzarelli
        I’m with afonzarelli. If you factor in the exponential growth of debt we are vigorously stimulating the system. He’s also right about the deflationary effect of green energy AKA ‘Technology’ which is also a exponential economic force. I went solar in 2012 and haven’t had a electric bill since May 2012.
        If you are interested in the current flow of funds and the growth of global debt I recommend bookmarking this URL:
        Such interesting tidbits…
        Saturday, June 15, 2019,
        “Household Balance Sheet. Household (& Non-Profits) Assets surged $4.697 TN during Q1 to a record $124.694 TN. And with Liabilities expanding just $5.9 billion, Household Net Worth surged $4.691 TN – the strongest ever quarterly increase in Net Worth (2nd place Q4 ‘99’s $3.114 TN). Household Net Worth jumped to 516% of GDP, just below the record 522% from Q3 2018. This compares to peak ratios of 484% in Q1 2007 and 444% during Q1 2000.”

      • Jack Smith
        Given that the renewables slated to replace fossil energy are vastly more expensive than them, how can this possibly be deflationary ?

      • bfjcricklewood – It’s just what technology does; better, faster, cheaper.
        When Will Renewable Energy Prices Stop Dropping?
        Statistical Basis for Predicting Technological Progress
        “Our results show that technological progress is forecastable, with the square root of the logarithmic error growing linearly with the forecasting horizon at a typical rate of 2.5% per year. These results have implications for theories of technological change, and assessments of candidate technologies and policies for climate change mitigation.”

      • Jack

        That renewables will keep improving does not means they will ever become viable.

        Even if other technologies stand still.

        Which they won’t.

      • afonzarelli

        Jack Smith
        Given that the renewables slated to replace fossil energy are vastly more expensive than them, how can this possibly be deflationary ?

        Crickle, in an economic boom energy prices skyrocket. If you add renewables to fossil fuels then the price of energy gets held down (on the whole) when we are in a boom. Witness the difference between the Trump boom and the Bush boom

      • Let me get this straight, adding more expensive generation holds energy prices down?

      • afonzarelli

        Yes (and no)… When we are in an economic boom, energy becomes scarce due to the high world wide demand. At that point, our cheap energy is no longer cheap and we need all the energy that we can get are hands on, period(.) Diversification of energy sources brings it’s cost down on the whole. (think dynamically)…

      • afonzarelli
        Boom or not, adding a more expensive (energy, in this case) product to the mix, increases the price. To say it decreases it is not “dynamic” thinking, it is pure gibberish.

      • afonzarelli

        (not when you consider that that the price of traditional energy skyrockets in a boom when the markets max out. consider that the cost of oil quadrupled in 1979 with only a 4% reduction in global supply. speculation, panic buying, being the cause. green energy can keep that sort of thing from happening)…

      • afonzarelli

        that that should read that

    • Well, I have two thoughts on the latter point. Tropical temperatures don’t vary much because they’re dominated by water feedbacks, so warm periods mostly spread the warmth toward the poles, decreasing the latitudinal temperature lapse rate. Basically, cold areas are further away from warm areas, so there’s less chances for dramatic mixing in the temperate regions.

      The other is that weather is driven by changes in volumes (densities due to expansion and contraction from temperature and moisture content). At low temperatures, a given energy difference creates a larger relative volume difference. Surface pressure is a function of vertical mass and gravity, so volume is a function of absolute temperature. It takes a lot less heat to double the volume of an extremely cold gas than an extremely hot gas, even though the absolute increases in volume are the same, because the starting volumes are so different.

      For example, for a given 1 KJ/kg increase in energy, which causes a 1 K temperature rise and a constant increase in volumme, air at -40 C will expand by 0.43%, whereas air at +40 C will expand by only 0.32%, which is a 34% difference.

      If we looked at Earth normal air at Martian temperatures versus Venus temperatures, the same 1 kJ/kg energy input would expand Martian air (-125 C) by 0.67% and Venus air (462 C) by only 0.14%, which is a five-fold difference.

      So the same energy differences should, perhaps, drive stronger winds at the lower temperatures.

      I’m not sure anyone has ever modeled or investigated the effect, though.

    • An odd litany of skeptic memes. SW Europe is not the world. Windiness there is a function largely of the modulation of the northern annular mode – as distinct from the portion of it identified as a ‘jet stream’. Driven by planetary rotation and modulated by solar activity some say – with higher northern latitudes likely to get colder and stormier this century.

      There is no global precipitation norm. Global hydrology changes regionally in response to shifting patterns of ocean circulation and sea surface temperature. That are linked to polar annular modes – driven by planetary rotation – and sub-polar gyres – again driven by planetary rotation with the Coriolis force and Ekman transport – in all the world’s oceans. Driving decadal to millennial shifts in the Pacific state especially – with a modest millennial peak in El Nino intensity and frequency in the 20th century.
      There are great floods in one region and megadrought in another.

      Moy et al (2002) present the record of sedimentation shown above which is strongly influenced by ENSO variability. It is based on the presence of greater and less red sediment in a lake core. More sedimentation is associated with El Niño. It has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of high and low El Niño intensity and frequency alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance some some 5,000 years ago that was identified by Tsonis 2009 as a chaotic bifurcation – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high El Niño intensity associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation (Tsonis et al, 2010). Red intensity at times was in excess of 200. For comparison – red intensity in the 1997/98 was 99. It shows extremes in the Holocene greater than any seen in the 20th century.

      And again the strange idea of a static atmospheric where surface pressure is dependent on temperature and thus density. True enough but just one aspect of turbulent ocean/atmosphere flow. Where there is warmer surface water in the tropical cyclone formation zones – cyclones will be more intense.

      But again – picking it from extreme intrinsic variability might be a problem too far.

  14. David Albert

    If we cannot define a signal of anthropogenic CO2 in the evolution of atmospheric CO2 content we are jousting with windmills trying to attribute events supposedly caused by increasing CO2 to our emissions.
    Salby, Harde, and Berry have demonstrated the correct physical analyses to test the IPCC assumption that all the recent growth of atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. Less than 15% of CO2 in the atmosphere is from fossil fuel burning. The signal of annual emissions from fossil fuels is lost in the noise of the natural emissions.
    Maybe Dr. Curry could get one of these three to put together a post for this site that would allow them to interact with the commenters. It could lead to a less horrifying message to our children as well as our politicians.

    • David Albert

      I have just found a new paper by Harde published yesterday that addresses this information.

    • Run a search for “Salby” in this site and you will find several posts on him and his loony theories.

      Salby, Harde, and Berry are pathetically wrong on this and have been exposed numerous times by more serious researchers.

      The two “articles” you talk about by Harde and Berry have been published by a predatory publishing group based in Pakistan that will publish any nonsense. Publishing there just requires paying the fee but it is like a kiss of death because no self-respecting scientist will take notice of an article published in a predatory journal.

      Science Publishing Group is in Beall’s list of predatory journals.

      Science Publishing Group

      Let me describe one particularly egregious predatory publisher to illustrate why predatory journals present such a serious threat. The publisher is Science Publishing Group [9] and it publishes, by my most recent count, 476 scholarly journals. It claims to be based on Fashion Avenue in New York City, but it is really based in Pakistan [10]. The publisher may make this false claim because potential customers may be more likely to assume a New York-based publisher is more legitimate than a Pakistan-based one. Looking at this publisher’s articles and journals, it’s easy to confidently classify it as a predatory publisher (at least it is for me). I have been monitoring this publisher for several years and remember when it first launched in late 2012 with 52 new journals. Yet the publisher is growing and thriving.

      Obviously, it’s not so easily identified as a predatory publisher by everyone. Its hundreds of journals have thousands of published articles, and it continues to expand and launch new journals. People are being fooled into believing SPG is a legitimate publisher or they are exploiting its automatic article acceptance to get easy academic credit, or both. Many of the articles it publishes are nonsense. For many years, I’ve used the article “Mathematical proof of the law of karma” [11] as an example in lectures I’ve given, an article that always draws laughter from the audience. It’s published in SPG’s American Journal of Applied Mathematics, a journal with an intentionally misleading title, as Pakistan is nowhere near America.

      The publisher Science Publishing Group seems to have absolutely no morals or integrity and is a counterfeit scholarly publisher, designed to trick or serve the needs of scholarly authors around the world, and there are many like it — it is not an exception or an isolated case [10].”

      “The company has been criticized for predatory open-access publishing.[6][7][8] In an experiment, university professor Fiona McQuarrie submitted an article to International Journal of Astrophysics and Space Science from Science Publishing Group, using pseudonyms Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel (characters from the cartoon series The Simpsons). Although the article had been generated by the SCIgen computer program and was nonsense, it was accepted for publication.[9] Librarian Jeffrey Beall, creator of a list of predatory open-access publishers, in 2014 pseudonymously published a nonsensical article in American Journal of Applied Mathematics. The article contained an alleged proof of Buddhist Karma.[10][3]”

      Forget about Salby, Harde, and Berry. They are not only completely wrong. They are discredited and outside reputable science, reduced to pay to have their BS published by disreputable, internet-only scam publishers.

      • Beall’s list is here:

        It is no longer being updated since he run into lots of problems for publishing it. There’s probably new predatory journals and companies appearing every week. They just need a webpage and start collecting taxpayers money from desperate or foolish scientists. It is all profit.

      • It is not my fault if Harde and Berry have decided to publish their articles in predatory journals. If it was me I would prefer not to publish than to publish in such journals. It sends a clear signal that it is crap science. But what would you know.

      • Javier
        You speak of “reputable science” as distinct from some “predatory” science.

        Would you be talking about the same reputable climate science that exonerated the efforts to scupper the scientific method revealed in Climate gate ? And that now maintains a complicit silence in the face of wild c CAGW claims from the likes of the Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg ?

        Iow the same reputable science that is happy with any old lies and deception as long as it advances predatory alarmism and so too its own grants and status ?

      • bfjcricklewood,
        You only focus on climate science, while this problem affects every field of science. Predatory journals are the result of internet scammers finding an exploitable niche in academics need to publish. Since the scammers only care about the money their e-journals have absolutely no quality filter and many bogus papers have been published to demonstrate it. To give you an idea, this paper was accepted for publication:

        So we are not talking the same issue.

    • afonzarelli

      The news of the demise of the temperature relationship with atmospheric carbon dioxide is premature. Not too long ago, Javier himself concured that if this temperature relationship goes on long enough, then there will be no denying it. But, how long is long enough ?

      As you can readily see, this temp relationship has been going on as long as the data has, way back to 1850. (this extrapolated back from the recent temperature data fitted to the keeling curve above) CO2 levels in 1850 were 287 ppm according to ice core data. Add the 127 ppm that you see in this graph and we get 414 ppm which just so happens to be the current level in May 2019(!) To be fair, we’re averaging 411 ppm now over the course of the year. (but, being off by just 3 ppm ain’t half bad) This temperature relationship isn’t going anywhere any time soon. So the big QUE is, at what point will it get the credence that it deserves?

      • afonzarelli

        (this extrapolated back from the recent temperature data fitted to the keeling curve above)

        By this i mean the topmost graph in my comment…

      • You would seem that the relationship does exist, but the argument was which way the causal arrow runs. And then there is this


      • afonzarelli

        CMS, to figure causation just take the integral features off the top graph that i posted. i left all that up there so that people can mess around with it. It will leave you with the derivative plot (rate of change) of co2 and the sea surface temps perfectly scaled to one another. It would be absurd to suggest that changes in the atmospheric growthrate were causing changes in temperature. Temperature is causing the change in the growthrate…

        What exactly is your graph getting at? Went right over my head (i’m pretty short… ☺️)

      • After removing longer trends, it simply plots shorter term variations in Hadcrut Global against CO2 fluctuations. Note which follows which.

  15. Ireneusz Palmowski

    The decrease in the magnetic activity of the Sun causes an increase in the ionization of the lower stratosphere by kaskades of galactic radiation.

  16. Risk expert John Ridgway has written a detailed commentary on the Winsberg et al paper:

  17. Regarding the recruitment of children into the “culture wars” comes an interesting article about that exact phenomenon:
    It’s worth the quick read, and actually pretty scary.

  18. Pingback: Extreme Weather, And Climate | Transterrestrial Musings

  19. The “storyline” idea seems like pseudoscience to me. There are many vague verbal formulations in medicine for example that have no real support.

    One familiar storyline is that antioxidants prevent cell oxidative damage and DNA damage and thus can prevent cancer and many other ailments. The only problem here is that recent large studies show that vitamin supplementation actually seems to increase morbidity and mortality. If there is an effect, its probably a very small one.

    A lot of climate storylines are also too vague to be useful. For example increasing SST’s must increase cyclone intensity. However, its actually the temperature gradients that are the drivers of intensity. For any of this to have any scientific value it must be quantified in a meaningful way.

    • We think telling stories is a art form or a craft but is it?
      The Science of Storytelling, by Will Storr
      Book review:
      “Applying psychological research and neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, Storr shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world. If we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller – the human brain.

  20. Judith,
    These three links in your article:

    Stop scaring children witless about climate change
    Self-harm versus the greater good
    The real problem with Greta Thunberg is not her age.

    They all point to the same spiked-online page.

  21. One wonders when the consensus will cull the historic records on past extreme weather events to provide a trend line they like. They have a history of such with Temp records already.

  22. Judith Curry wrote: “Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.”

    Political theater is the reason for committee hearings, thus whatever seems to attract the most media attention should be expected to get priority treatment.

    Politicians cannot control climate change, neither can “scientists.” Like the rest of the human race, they will have to figure out how to adapt to climate change and other natural phenomena. It is probably healthier for our freedom when politicians focus their destructive energy on partisan warfare, rather than on changing the world.

  23. double sixsixman

    I have criticized you in the past, Ms. Curry, for writing like a PhD, which severely reduces the ability to persuade ordinary people of anything.

    This article is different — from the heart — so I now know you can write in a way that is easy to understand, compelling and persuasive.

    I especially liked your “conclusion” — one that rarely gets the attention it deserves: …….. “And finally, the silence of scientists who should know better, especially among those who have a vocal public presence … ”

    The coming climate change crisis is the original fake news — with honorable mentions to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the Trump Russian Collusion Delusion.

    The coming climate change crisis has finally become visible as an attack on free market capitalism — that was always obvious to me, for the past 20 years, but the Green New Deal finally made it obvious to many more people (not Democrats, of course, just sensible people).

    Richard Greene
    Bingham Farms, Michigan

    My own climate science blog,
    with over 37,000 page views, is at:

  24. “apart from the slow creep of sea level rise” It’s not creeping enough to be reducing Earth’s land area.

  25. Pingback: Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry rips ‘fake news’ linking ‘extreme weather’ to ‘global warming’ – ‘Horrified’ by activists scaring kids with climate ‘propaganda’ — – NZ Conservative Coalition

  26. There are too many scientists.

  27. Strikes me that Climate Change is but a subset of a much more perverse condition. Namely, the desire for money by those with no “moral compass”. That is, the end (i.e. wealth = comfort) justifies the means, including violence, intimidation or any means to silence opponents. While this defect is not limited to any one particular persuasion, the condition seems endemic to those on the left. To be blunt, integrity is overwhelmed by greed.
    The remedies touted for “Climate Change” are tantamount to a massive economic assault on those simply striving to live their daily lives. The proposed remedies have no economic advantage (actually makes folks less well off financially) for the vast majority of those alive today and very likely have no particular advantages for any future civilizations. However, a lot of elites are making a very comfortable living off of “climate change”.
    Events lead us to a quandary. Do we simply sit back in the hopes the climate change lunacy will go away? Or do we defend ourselves by insisting that the truth, wherever it leads, be even-handily pursued? In my view, the matter really boils down to our fundamental right to freedom.

    • afonzarelli

      The proposed remedies have no economic advantage

      While this may be true regarding the proposals, it does not appear to be the case for those proposals that have already been acted upon. Natural gas, green energy & energy efficiency have all added to the diversity of our over all energy supply. This keeps costs down when we are in an economic boom which in turn keeps interest rates low leading to greater potentials for prosperity. Any time we add to traditional sources of energy, we bring energy costs down on the whole. The cost of energy ultimately comes down to how rare energy is. (and in a boom energy costs sky rocket) The green revolution may lead to prosperity for all yet, assuming that it never actually takes the upper hand…

      • Using unreliable and expensive renewable to replace reliable resources invariably drives the cost of energy upward, as painfully demonstrated in Germany and California.
        The green revolution has only served to enrich the few at the expense of the many. All this in response to a manufactured “crisis” for which “green energy” is utterly incapable meaningfully impacting.
        Your analysis is incorrect. The cost of energy is driven primarily the effort required to turn energy into a useful form that can meet the needs of society. Sunlight is abundant but too diffuse and unreliable to meet the needs of our modern civilization. Uranium is rare but contains vast amounts of highly concentrated useful energy.
        Replacing coal and nuclear with “green energy” and natural gas hardly serves to ensure diversity of energy resources and is strategically unwise, particularly when natural gas is being sent out of the country in vast quantities (which also drives up the domestic cost of gas for consumers).
        The mindless pursuit of green energy advocated by the left (i.e. Democratic Party) is a clear and present danger to the US economy and our ability to defend ourselves from foreign adversaries.

      • afonzarelli

        Keller, i agree with you entirely. This can be summed up in the last sentence of my comment:

        The green revolution may lead to prosperity for all yet, assuming that it never actually takes the upper hand.

        The unemployment rate stands now at 3.6% and inflation a mere 1.8%. This thanks in no small part to cheaper energy prices on the whole (a la the green revolution)…

  28. Anthropogenic climate disruption occurs against a backdrop of extreme variability.

    “Figure 2 indicates that the title of this paper,
    “Hydrology and change”, harmonizes with a large body of literature, books, conferences, scientific papers and news stories, all of which roar about change: changing planet, changing world, changing ocean, changing environment, changing health and, most of all, changing climate. It looks as if, recently, our scientific community has been amazed that things

    On the other hand – we are making changes to the complex dynamical physical and biological Earth system and are witless as to outcomes – when skeptic storylines are discounted.

  29. Can someone tell me where I can get a description of a modeling run with all the math and computerese with the goal of learning what terms are in the model and which not? I have done a lot of Monte Carlo Simulations myself and would like to analyze what is going on. It’s hard to comment without the details. I am an elementary particle physicist so I am interested in the science as well as the computer techniques.

    • You might start with looking at these projects. Some of these models will be run on the new exascale supercomputers and include advanced biosphere coupled physics, chemistry and biology.
      Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model
      Community Earth System Model (CESM)
      Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA)

  30. Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  31. afonzarelli

    Back circa 1960, the ‘scary story’ was Russians taking over the U.S. through nuclear war or via infiltrating the U.S. This scary story was conveyed to me on a weekly basis by a nun in my Saturday Catechism class (Catholic Church). I was well and duly scared by all this. In fact I worried alot about this. When one of my parents was late to come home from shopping or an outing, I was worried that they got captured by the Russians.

    Obviously this wasn’t just a story. The Russians actually did want to take over the world. And, lest we forget, did succeed in taking over a big chunk of it. These days, there is a school of thought out there that they still have designs on taking over the world along with the Chinese. When they finally get around to invading North America, the Russians will take Alaska and Canada & and the Chinese the U.S. (ain’t kiddin’, actually red about it recently) i imagine that Dr C’s nun was a big Fatima devotee. There’s a scare story that actually came true. And if the Fatima story isn’t over yet, then there are more scary things to come…

  32. The Thunberg and child activist movement is eerily similar to the emergence of pretty much every fascist movement.

  33. I’m 30 but I was scared about climate change from a very early age, through exposure to both science literature and green-type adults, plus a innate curiosity and pesimism. From my teenage years through the end of college I was absolutely certain that past the age of 30 (lol) I would see a world in complete ruin, from the depletion of oil, draught and sea-rise, so I had a gigantic anxiety to travel and do stuff before the future came, in which I’d had no choice but to stay home and survive. Thankfully one of those such plans (study abroad) didn’t succeed which was a major blow and made me question a big part of myself, including the climate change question, and honestly it was so shocking to find that there are serious doubts about the alarmism, which to me looked completely justified since that’s what I had heard all my life (I conflated denialism with questioning the supposed guaranteed apocalypse). Finding these studies freed my life from that existential despair and overall made me mature as a human being.
    So yes, kids ARE being hurt by this rethoric, in very deep ways. In their minds even living is contradictory, since 1. They will grow up in a hellish world, what’s the point? 2. Being alive means emitting CO2 which contributes to the catastrophe. No wonder teenager suicide is so high!
    I also find interesting how much of this can be explained with alarmism taking the place of religion in this secular world. I’ve been agnostic from a young age but I see now that this worldview, to me, was a kind of religious belief, and I’m sure many people would agree with that.

  34. Ireneusz Palmowski

    The Earth’s tropopause is thin. A large decrease in the Earth’s magnetic field strength can cause loss of atmosphere mass and cool down.

  35. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Few people pay attention to the fact that the magnetic field of Earth now weakens the most quickly over North America. This causes an increase in ionization of the atmosphere over North America.

  36. Stop abusing Greta. She has Asperger’s syndrome, she needs psychiatric therapy

  37. I. It’s good that under Knutson’s paper, also signed Kerry Emanuel …

    II. I also remind you that Michel Mann prepared “himself well”. He has just published this paper now: Droughts and Floods May Level Off until 2050, but Then Watch Out.
    Totally AGW catastrophic scenario…

    Mann – versus him – worth – in a speech – quote eg. this type of work: Temporally Compound Heat Wave Events and Global Warming: An Emerging Hazard (Baldwin et al., 2019.). “Trends also may exist in the blocking events and other circulation anomalies associated with heat waves (Coumou et al., 2014, 2015; Hoskins & Woollings, 2015; Petoukhov et al., 2013; Pfahl et al., 2015). However, these trends remain SPECULATIVE, as the observed period is short and climate model results are inconsistent (Horton et al., 2016). Overall, diverse phenomena might make temperature variability change alongside mean warming, but how and why is still highly uncertain.”

    However, I would mainly pay attention to “Puzzles” known as the “equable climate problem”
    On the “encouragement” I suggest reading example this:
    1. The equable climate problem during Interglacial warming, Davis et al., 2011.: ”Comparing these results with climate model simulations we find two major paradoxes that are not reproduced in models; 1) winter warming was greater than summer warming, despite contrary insolation forcing, and 2) this strong winter warming was largely the result of a stronger atmospheric circulation comparable with a high index Northern Annular Mode (NAM), despite a weaker equator-pole temperature gradient at this time. These paradoxes present the same equable climate problem that characterise much earlier and warmer climates, adding to uncertainties in the ability of climate models to simulate the equable nature of future climate warming.”
    … or …
    2. Ocean Heat Transport and Water Vapor Greenhouse in a Warm Equable Climate: A New Look at the Low Gradient Paradox, Rose & Ferreira, 2013. :
    “Weak ΔT during warm periods has proven difficult to reconcile with climate model results, inspiring related puzzles known as the “equable climate problem” and the “low gradient paradox”…”

    And also the problem of Hadley Circulation.

    III. It is also worth (regarding politics and science about climate) to quote prof. H. von Storch. He chaired the preparation of the 1st and 2nd BACC report and the 1st and 2nd “Klimabericht für die Metropolregion Hamburg” (see here). After having served as a Lead Author for Working Group I of IPCC TAR, he acted as a Lead Author of Chapter 2 “Foundations of Decision Making” of Working Group II of IPCC AR5.:

    “Scientific research faces a crisis because its public figures are overselling the issues to gain attention in a hotly contested market for newsworthy information.”

    “The alarmists think that climate change is something extremely dangerous, extremely bad and that overselling a little bit, if it serves a good purpose, is not that bad.”

    “…in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.” (vide hiatus)

    “Certainly the greatest mistake of climate researchers has been giving the impression that they are declaring the definitive truth.”

    “Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine.”

    “Our models certainly include a great number of HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.”

    “On the other hand, the concept of man‐made climate change is not a recent scientificdiscovery, but is part of the western narrative of creation, divine justice and a number ofsocial constructions. This should be subject to social science studies, but finds too littleattention.Thus “climate” is made up of at least two competing concepts, one being a scientificconstruction, and the other a string of social constructions (with the scientific one also being aspecial type of social construction). The result is that climate change becomes a postnormalscience, with urgent decisions, inherent uncertainties, values in dispute and costly risks.Typical for such a situation is that representatives of opposing sides adopt a position ofknowledge superiority, scientists now, priests in the past, so that arriving in a socialnegotiation process at acceptable “solutions” is fraught with heavy conflicts and significantdelays as well as demands for “expert governments”.” (The last one citation of: CMCC Seminar-Webinar: The political dimension of climate science, 2018)

    • David Appell

      semczyszakarkadiusz wrote:
      “Mann – versus him – worth – in a speech – quote eg. this type of work:


  38. Pingback: FUD Mongering as a political weapon

  39. Leftist’s investment in Western academia’s fear industry is a tax on global net present wealth.

  40. Dr. Curry ==> My curiosity was sparked by this bit in the Knutson et al. paper on “Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change Assessment: Part I. Detection
    and Attribution”:

    “While attribution is normally assessed once a climate change has been established as detectable, it has become more common practice for investigators to make attribution claims even in the absence of establishing a detectable change, particularly in the case of extreme event attribution. We refer to such attribution claims as “attribution without detection.” An example case of this is Murakami et al. (2015) who infer, using model simulations, that anthropogenic forcing has increased the occurrence rate of TCs near Hawaii and thus contributed to the active TC season in that region in 2014, despite the lack of a significant observed long-term increasing trend in TCs in the region.”

    It seems to me to be wildly out of line with the scientific method to perform anything like “attribution without detection” — how in the world does one assign cause (attribution) to something that has not yet even been detected?

    Am I missing something, or is this another sign of something odd about the science of Climate Science?

  41. Scientific skepticism of global warming alarmism challenges the Left’s political dictatorial control of Western academia.

    • Wagathon wrote:
      “Scientific skepticism of global warming alarmism challenges the Left’s political dictatorial control of Western academia.”

      If conservatives want a place in academia, they should seek appointments in academia, instead of bailing out early to go into the professions of greed.


      • My salary at Georgia Tech was $230K (publicly available info for a public university). In 2017, 2018 my income from CFAN was ≤ $100K/yr (K-1 income from profits). I am investing most of the profits to build the company. In 2019 so far, I have not drawn any personal income. Owing to investing in a new computer system and hiring new employees, profits are down this year. The expected 2019 profits so far are going to my employees (XMAS bonus) and to send the whole team to the annual AMS meeting in Jan 2020. If we bring in some new contracts yet in 2019, I may pull in some income.

        Whether or not I get paid, my job with CFAN is the best job I ever had, and there is no need to compromise my personal or professional integrity to ‘play the game’.

        From my perspective, the profession of greed and pressure to bias your research comes from academia, not the private sector

      • Ooooh! Reality slaps David Appel in the face, once again. Thanks, Dr. Curry for the accurate description of entrepreneurship. Been there, done that, got the scars.

      • Add another “l” in there.

      • The luminaries of the Glass bead game have turned Western academia into a racket.

      • double sixsixman

        Mr. Apple blathers, as usual: “If conservatives want a place in academia, they should seek appointments in academia, instead of bailing out early to go into the professions of greed.”

        Mr. Apple
        Who in their right mind would want to spend their days with a bunch of over emotional, virtue signaling, socialist and Marxist “perfessers”, who ignore facts, data and logic, to declare the Russians elected Donald Trump …. and to declare that CO2, actually the staff of life, is an evil chemical, causing our “deteriorating” climate, leading to an existential climate crisis, when, in reality, CO2 is beneficial, and we are living in the best climate for humans and animals in at least 500 years ?

        For me, that would be just as bad as spending days with “bible thumpers” who love to talk about Jesus Christ, and quote bible verses.

        I suppose YOU, Mr Apple, love to live in that isolated from reality, science-denying, leftist fantasy world of the coming climate change crisis, allegedly coming since the late 1950s, but instead, the global climate keeps getting better and better … and you can’t handle that good news, because leftists love to be miserable!

        Richard Greene
        Bingham Farms, Michigan

  42. The political reality is that public concern at climate is linked to the last severe weather event. What skeptics offer in response is a few simple, motivated, dogmatic stories and – perhaps – a back of the envelop calculation. Not science at all in other words. As well as churlish, petulant insulting of a child.

    Even if difficult to detect against a backdrop of extreme variability – changing the atmosphere can cause extremes of hot or cold, wet or dry. Especially when the Earth system is forced to cross some dynamic threshold.

    There is a failure to understand either politics or science. The biggest failure is the absence of a substantive, alternative policy response that is something more than whinging complaints.

  43. Will Carbon Tax Bring Down Trudeau’s Government?
    Majority Of Canadian Voters Oppose Trudeau’s Carbon Tax — May Decide Elections

    “Many Canadian voters are motivated on the issue of the carbon tax but not necessarily in a way that benefits Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The telephone poll of 1,633 Canadian voters found that 45% are opposed to the tax, 28% are in favour of it and 27% say they are neither for nor against it. This tells us that public opinion is more on the side of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is against the tax alongside premiers, such as Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney.” –Toronto Sun, 12 June 2019

    “With four months left until the federal election, the Liberals are again trailing behind the Conservatives in decided voter support. According to the new poll, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s approval rating is at its lowest point since he was elected in 2015. Just 32 per cent of respondents said they believe the Trudeau government has done a good job and deserves re-election, compared to 68 per cent who think it’s time for another party to take power.” –The Canadian Press, 14 June 2019

    H/T GWPF

  44. Ulric Lyons

    ‘Temporally Compound Heat Wave Events and Global Warming: An Emerging Hazard’

    Pure wool gathering and abstraction for lack of any real explanation for extreme temperature events and weather in general. For 2010, my solar based forecast captured most of the weekly temperature anomalies for the UK. The cold of Jan-Feb, reaching nearly 30°C at the end of May which I predicted for a music festival client, and the following heat of June and July, the cold from late Nov through Dec, and when it would warm up again from the second week of Jan 2011. The summer heat of 2010 intensifying in Russia was connected with aridity, hence the forest fires, which the smoke from exacerbated the Moscow heatwave.

    The 2003 and 2006 heatwaves, and their direct analogues in 1934 and 1936, would not have existed without their solar drivers. They are drivers of climate change and occurred at specific quadrupole configurations of the gas giants. The 2006 type drove the greatest known European heatwaves of the last 1000 years including the notable 1540 event, and with July 2006 being the hottest July in 359 years for Central England.

    It’s possible that higher CO2 levels may exacerbate such heat events by ~0.25°C, but that tiny compared to urban heat island effects. The best idea is to predict them so that people can make preparations.

    • Ireneusz Palmowski

      The heat wave in Eastern Europe is closely related to the braking of circulation in the Atlantic. This circulation occurs in periods of low solar activity.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Currently, the temperature difference between Western and Eastern Europe exceeds 10 degrees C.

      • Yes, its been rather cool and rainy in the UK for much of June. Have had to use the fan heater a couple of evenings and mornings and we are quite hardy.


      • Ulric Lyons

        Ireneusz, in July 2010 the Arctic Oscillation had shifted positive, and the UK also had warmer than average conditions. That was because of higher higher solar activity for the month.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Similarly, the circulation in the Pacific is blocked and the jetstream from the north is directed to the southwest the US.

    • Ireneusz Palmowski

      During periods of low solar activity and during La Nina, the risk of fires in high latitudes increases considerably.

      • Ulric Lyons

        “During periods of low solar activity and during La Nina, the risk of fires in high latitudes increases considerably.”

        Low solar increases El Nino conditions. Continental interior heatwave events are often the result of initially periods of lower solar activity driving warmer ocean phases and reducing rainfall, and followed by a short term increase in solar activity. 1934 and 1936 summers in the US are also good examples.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        You also need to take into account the increase in galactic rays in high latitudes that create paths for lightning.

    • Any thoughts on the rest of the summer?

      I am tired of huddling indoors from the rain and turning on the fan heater on cool evenings.


      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        The forecast of the northern jetstream over the Atlantic shows slight changes until July.

      • Ulric Lyons

        I had forecast a wetter cooler June 2019 for the UK, with a slight improvement for the middle third of the month. July I am expecting to be much warmer and drier from around the 5-8th onward. At least the first half of August cooler and wetter again, and improving slightly in the second half. Then a very warm burst from early September.

  45. Pingback: Extremes | Watts Up With That?

  46. David Appell

    JC, why isn’t there anyone else on your side who can testify? It sees thin….

    • My ‘side’? Are you aware that I have testified twice for the Democrats? If you are referring to the Republicans, i agree that in recent years their stable of witnesses has been a bit limited. This past year many new people have been called on to testify, and most did a very effective job.

    • You didn’t get the message yet, David: The radical Democrats currently rule the House; alarmist spin all the way.

    • Beta Blocker

      David Appell, if extreme weather events caused by climate change are in fact happening, and if these events are in fact increasing in both numbers and intensity, then extreme measures are needed to quickly reduce our carbon emissions.

      Why haven’t we heard anyone testify that the EPA has full legal authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate all sources of our carbon emissions, not just coal — but that Obama’s EPA refused to go that far after clear legal authority had been granted by the courts?

      Moreover, why haven’t we heard anyone testify that the President of the United States has clear legal authority under existing national security legislation to declare a carbon pollution emergency and to then begin a government enforced program for direct rationing of all carbon fuels, as was done in World War II?

  47. Dr. Curry wrote, “RPJr has prepared a twitter thread on his talk ‘Extreme Weather and Extreme Politics” which is a must read.”

    I completely agree. Dr. Pielke’s “tweetstorm” presentation is definitely a “must read.”

    There are more than 5½ dozen tweets, so be sure to click on “35 more replies” after slide #34, and then on “5 more replies” after slide #64.

    Or you can view the ThreadReaderApp “unrolled” version of the thread, here:

    Here’s a pdf of the latter:

    Here’s the video linked from slide #27, with Dr. Pielke’s (excellent!) congressional testimony:

  48. As for Michael Mann, considering the scientific malpractice revealed by Climategate, I don’t understand why anyone listens to him about anything, anymore.

    Here’s Prof. Richard Muller’s short but excellent discussion:

    Here’s Steve McIntyre’s much more thorough discussion:

    • There is nothing whatsoever suspect about Mann et al’s results, which has been clear all along and was just reiterated AGAIN in a Canadian courtroom

      where the Frontier Centre had to admit they were wrong:

    • Tony Banton

      This is the “Climategate” video you need to see Mr Burton.

      • David Appell

        Mueller was wrong and clearly didn’t have the slightest clue what he was talking about.

        Where are Mueller’s peer reviewed journal papers proving Mann et al wrong?

        McIntyre’s et al?

        Mann+’s work has been verified many many times by now. And basic algebra shows it’s not an unexpected result at all:

      • Mann just won another court case, with the other side admitting they were wrong:

      • Potholer can make good points at times. For example he recently did a video criticizing Bjorn Lomborg on the subject of electric cars and he had some good points. But in this video and anything relating to Climategate or the hockey stick, he’s nothing but a PR hack for climate alarmism. Here, he’s pushing the straw man of “hide the decline” means hiding a decline in temperatures. He’s also characterizing skeptics as conspiracy theorists. He likes to pick on easy targets like Christopher Monkton and Steven Crowder, but he ignores serious people like Andrew Montford and Steve McIntyre. For someone who likes to bring up the scientific liturature, you’d think he might have something to say about the Wahl and Ammann abomination. Is he cool with not reporting failing R squared results, the Gaspe series being used twice (never addressed), bad proxies still being used in reconstructions, … ?

      • Tony, that video is by Mr. Peter Hadfield (“potholer”). He is a very confused man. As Canman notes below, contrary to Hadfield’s videos, “hide the decline” didn’t refer to hiding a decline in real temperatures. Jones, Mann, Bradley & Hughes hid the decline in proxy-derived temperatures, which occurred at a time when real temperatures were known to have been increasing — an embarrassing inconsistency with reality that calls into question the efficacy of their methodology.

        Their solution to that problem was to hide it. They substituted real, measured temperature data for the proxy data that was inconsistent with it, matching the colors, smoothing the splice points, and even distorting the measured data slightly to line it up with the proxies at the splice points, to hide the fact that they had done it. The label on the graph identified each of the three traces as just proxy data, which was a very bold lie.

        I tried to explain this to Mr. Hadfield, in comments on his first Climategate video, but he ignored my comments.

        Here are two of my comments:

        David Burton 6 months ago (edited)

        ​@potholer54 wrote, “This is known as the divergence problem, and it was so well known and so widely written up in the scientific literature — all publicly available — that only the most ardent conspiracy theorist could believe Jones was trying to ‘hide’ it.”

        Can you cite some of those papers?

        I couldn’t find even one. I searched google scholar, and I also did a general internet search, with restricted date ranges. I found no mention at all in the scientific literature (or anywhere else) of a “divergence problem” with tree ring proxies for temperature, prior to Phil Jones’ infamous Tue, 16 Nov 1999 email:

        From: Phil Jones
        To: ray bradley, michael mann, malcolm hughes
        Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
        Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
        Cc: keith briffa, tim osborn

        Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
        Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
        first thing tomorrow.
        I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
        to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
        1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
        land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
        N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
        for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
        data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
        Thanks for the comments, Ray.


        David Burton 5 months ago

        @Aanthanur DC, you misunderstand. “The decline” that Jones, Mann etc. hid was not a decline in actual temperature. It was a decline in the proxy-derived temperatures, deduced from tree rings. Since, as you say, “there was no decline” in the temperature datasets, the fact that the temperatures deduced from tree-ring proxies nevertheless showed a decline, proves that the tree-ring proxies are unreliable indicators of temperature.

        THAT was the problem which Jones, Mann, Bradley & Hughes sought to hide: the fact that their method of deducing temperatures in the distant past (before there were measurements) was proven to be unreliable.

        Of course, that means their attempt to erase the MWP from history was junk science, too.

        That’s why they went to such extraordinary lengths to “hide the decline.”

        Jones used identical colors for the proxy reconstruction data and instrument data, and rounded the three splice points to hide the splices. Despite the graph labels which claimed that the three traces were proxies, from 1981 on all three traces were actually real (instrument) temperature data (and the green trace was real temperature data from 1961 on). Yet the three traces of the same instrument data were slightly different, because, to hide the splice points, Jones had to bend the traces a bit, to make them line up with the three proxy traces.

        It was flagrant, deliberate scientific fraud. Like Jerry Sandusky, Michael Mann worked for Penn State, which invites the famous comparison between them: Jones & Mann molested data the way Jerry Sandusky molested adolescent boys.

        Jones, Mann, et al didn’t just truncate the proxy data and substitute a different dataset in its place. That’s would be bad enough. In fact it’s what Hansen & Sato do for sea-level data, but Hansen & Sato use contrasting colors, and accurately label the graph, and don’t try to hide the splice points. Theirs is honest scientific malpractice:

        What Jones, Mann etc. did was much, much worse. It was dishonest scientific malpractice. They matched the colors of the two different kinds of data, mislabeled the graph, and even rounded the splice points to hide the fact that the graphs were spliced.

  49. David Appell

    Judith, why do I have to log out every time I come here, and then log back in to post a comment?

    Please fix this.

  50. David

    So do I. I have to use one of three methods it offers to log in and I use word press which fortunately on my main computer seems to work automatically as I have no idea these days of the log in codes for an account I never use..

    On my other computers it is inoperative, hence I can only post on my main computer so I rarely get to comment these days in the evening or when I am away.It is irritating


    • CR: Good to hear (that I’m not the only at least), in a way. As far as I can tell, WP is a virus let loose upon the Internet. I’m hardly the only one who thinks that…. There is no possibility of ignoring it, of getting out of it, of getting over it. And WP bloggers clearly could not care less…..

    • Tony, do you clear your history a lot? I was having that problem on my banking site until I stopped clearing my history. Just a thought.

  51. Pingback: Why we do nothing to prepare for climate change | Watts Up With That?

  52. David Wojick

    I have a nontechnical one page handout on the hurricane issue:

    Comments welcome.

  53. Joseph Ratliff

    Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum and commented:
    Excellent essay. Thank you Dr. Curry.

  54. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Warning for Oklahoma.

  55. I’ve been thinking about extreme weather events and it seems that if we follow 1,000 locations scattered fairly evenly around the globe and if extreme weather events are relatively random, then we could expect that on average 1 of these locations would have a once in 1,000 year event occur just about every year, and likewise, 5 locations would see a once in 500 year event, 10 locations would see a once in 100 year event, and 50 would see a once in 20 year event just about every year. That’s a lot of extreme events every year and could include extreme high temperature, extreme low temperature, extreme heavy precipitation, and extreme drought.

    We don’t have long enough weather extreme records in most places to have much confidence beyond about about a 100 year recurrence interval other than by extrapolation which I can imagine might have a large uncertainty for the most extreme events, like one in 500 years or one in 1,000 years. However, with global news coverage I can see how every year there are likely to be some extreme weather events with very infrequent occurrence intervals happening in multiple places around the globe and this is quite within normal expectation for extreme weather events, contrary to what is often reported these days. Assessing an increase or decrease over time with high confidence could take a few thousand years of data collection, especially for the most extreme events.

    • Oops, make that “… 2 locations would see a once in 500 year event, 5 locations would see a once in 200 year event …”

  56. “Understanding the connections between the Arctic warming trend and more severe weather in the mid-latitudes remains an active area of research. But even as Earth’s average temperature rises, natural patterns of climate variability are expected to still operate in a warmer world. There have been many other cases of natural climate oscillations influencing our winter weather in recent years. The unusually cold winter of 2009-2010 proved that record-breaking snowstorms can still coexist with global warming, as did the frigid start to 2011, which resulted in another wintry winter for the eastern United States.”

    “The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is a large scale mode of climate variability, also referred to as the Northern Hemisphere annular mode. The AO is a climate pattern characterized by winds circulating counterclockwise around the Arctic at around 55°N latitude. When the AO is in its positive phase, a ring of strong winds circulating around the North Pole acts to confine colder air across polar regions. This belt of winds becomes weaker and more distorted in the negative phase of the AO, which allows an easier southward penetration of colder, arctic air masses and increased storminess into the mid-latitudes.”

    A simple idea – although commonly confused with ideas of jet streams in the stratosphere. modelling suggests a more negative AO and wavier mode of the Polar Vortex with global warming. Or solar activity may play a part.


    Distinguishing between the two is impossible despite crude and eccentric skeptic blog unscience. But this does not of course mean that there is no anthropogenic component. And unless Judith has special skill at determining how close the system is to dynamic thresholds – I’ll take the blithe dismissal of near term risk under advisement. Nor is it all that predictable beyond the ubiquitous week or two common to probabilistic weather forecasts.

  57. That looks more like a tipping bucket rain gauge It is not a WMO standard weather station.

  58. Javier
    The point you made above about latitudinal heat gradients is a very important one. It’s clear from basic thermodynamics that in colder glacial periods, since the equatorial region is not much different than today in temperature, that there is a much stronger latitudinal temperature gradient. And that following from this the climate system, which exists to redistribute heat equator to pole, will be more, not less energetic in such colder times and that weather event extremes will be more frequent and stronger during cold, not hot, periods.

    The alarmists are thus trying to have their cake and eat it – argue for both warming and more extremes. Or are they? The two are quite obviously mutually exclusive. From basic physics you can either have warming and less extreme weather, ot cooling and more extremes; but not warming and more extremes.

    This apparent contradiction holds value, however, to help us read between the lines to see what climate is actually doing. Since all climate datasets are in the hands of activists, we are not really going to know whether global temperatures are warming or cooling. And extreme weather events can evidently be interpreted as either increasing or decreasing.

    There are two alternative ways to read the current direction and content of the alarmist narrative; they are the following:

    1. Warming is really happening. Weather extremes are declining, but it is not too challenging to spin this into increase with skillful manipulation of the uncertainties involved, taking advantage of population and economic growth to show increasing human and economic toll even with no increase in extreme events.

    2. Climate is actually cooling, and thus there is a real incipient growth of extreme weather events, which may have only just started and will grow as the cooling intensifies. Global temperature is somewhat of an abstraction anyway strongly influenced by large regions where few people ever go, such as the poles, Siberia, and the oceans especially their deepest depths. These are the places where warming can safely be claimed without much danger of this being tested by non-believers.

    From the behaviour of the alarmist community one can infer which of these scenarios is more likely. And I would say it is the second. There is not so much talk of temperature warming, except in passing. The term “global warming” is passing out of fashion. The focus of attention and alarm seems to be more on intense and destructive weather events – floods, heatwaves, droughts etc.

    Thus overall it would appear that the strategy chosen by Alarmists is most likely to be concealment of actual climate cooling and spinning into warming, but downplaying the temperature issue with primary focus on weather extremes.

    • In the tropical cyclone formation regions – warmer water creates more intense lows and latent energy is lost from higher altitudes. Warming at the poles creates more intense highs and a wavier vortex. How this all impacts planetary waves is a mystery.

      “Climate is ultimately complex. Complexity begs for reductionism. With reductionism, a puzzle is studied by way of its pieces. While this approach illuminates the climate system’s components, climate’s full picture remains elusive. Understanding the pieces does not ensure understanding the collection of pieces. This conundrum motivates our study.” Marcia Wyatt

      But this is not even scientific reductionism – it is not science at all. It is a tale told…

    • Robert
      Yes I agree that the climate system is chaotic-complex. It’s a heat engine – one that is open and dissipative and full of feedbacks. So it would be impossible for it not to show chaotic nonlinear pattern formation. It is a far-from-equilibrium system in which spontaneous pattern formation will act to export entropy.

      Yes my above post was science-thin. But there is plenty of evidence for greater climate instability during the glacial periods – about 20 DO events during the most recent Wisconsin glaciation for instance. And it is to be expected with greater equator to pole temperature gradient. It remains a conundrum why the less stable glacial periods last much longer than the more stable interglacials. Unless as we’ve discussed before, the glacial-interglacial alternation is transitional “flicker” as the whole system is being moved from one attractor (non glacial) to another (deep glaciation).

      Reductionism is a paradigm that ignores chaos and nonlinear pattern formation. It is the dominant paradigm, but is not fruitful in understanding complex systems such as climate and living organisms. Thus inaccurate climate models and empty drug pipelines despite billions invested.

  59. What are these “… modification of the Earth system …” and “… complex dynamical effect …” of which you speak? Are they measured?

    As far as I can determine, the Earth system is functioning as before and no dynamical effect has been measured. Lets keep the discussion to CO2.

    And UN IPCC and related models carry no weight with this old modeler. Modelturbation is well-known, especially in economics and now in CliSci.

    Additionally, the complex, unproven theories of CliSci carry no more weight with me than do the complex, unproven theories of some skeptics.

    • “In 1963, Lorenz published his seminal paper on ‘Deterministic non-periodic flow’, which was to change the course of weather and climate prediction profoundly over the following decades and to embed the theory of chaos at the heart of meteorology. Indeed, it could be said that his view of the atmosphere (and subsequently also the oceans) as a chaotic system has coloured our thinking of the predictability of weather and subsequently climate from thereon.

      Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.

      No dynamical effect ffs – LMFAO. They are literally everywhere in time and space in Earth’s turbulent. Something he cannot have modeled well if at all. We have a 1000 years of Nile River data that showed precisely this in the mid 20th century.

      ” The hydrologist H.E. Hurst, studying the long flow records of the Nile and other geophysical time series, was the first to observe a natural behaviour, named after him, related to multi-scale change, as well as its implications in engineering designs. Essentially, this behaviour
      manifests that long-term changes are much more frequent and intense than commonly perceived and, simultaneously, that the future states are much more uncertain and unpredictable on long time horizons than implied by standard approaches.”

      Try contemplating something other than trite skeptic cliches.

  60. Re: “As an example, recall the ‘storyline’ whereby Hurricane Sandy (wind speeds equivalent to a Cat 1 hurricane at landfall) was influenced by some magical steering effect associated with AGW that steered to the storm to New York City. Well, the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment Report tackled this one head on (Appendix C, Box C.2) and concluded:
    ‘[T]here is low confidence in determining the net impact to date of anthropogenic climate change on the risk of Sandy-like events, though anthropogenic sea level rise, all other things equal, has increased the surge risk.'”

    The NCS is wrong, because there is no anthropogenic fingerprint on coastal sea-level rise. Sea-level is not rising significantly faster now than, with CO2 above 410 ppmv, than it was nine decades ago, with CO2 100 ppmv lower.

    As it happens, New York has one of North America’s longest sea-level measurement records. At its western tip, Long Island meets Manhattan Island, at a place called The Battery. There is an excellent GLOSS-LTT tide gauge there which first measuring sea level there in 1856, and has been continuously measuring sea-level since 1893.

    As is the case with many other very long sea-level measurement records, there is evidence of a slight acceleration prior to 1930, but no significant acceleration since then. The linear trend there since 1930 is +3.1 ±0.2 mm/year. Because of local subsidence, that trend is about twice the global average, but still only about 10 inches when projected to 2100.

    Note: NOAA calculates a slightly lower rate of sea-level rise there, mostly because their linear regression includes the 19th century measurements, when the sea-level trend there was slightly slower:

    There has been no statistically or practically significant acceleration since 1930: quadratic regression finds acceleration of 0.00367 ±0.01720 mm/yr². (Even if we ignore the confidence interval, 0.00367 mm/yr² of acceleration continued for 81 years would add just 0.3 mm/yr to the rate of sea-level rise.)

    “Since the rate of sea level rise has not increased significantly in response to the last 3/4 century of CO2 emissions, there is no reason to expect that it will do so in response to the next 3/4 century of CO2 emissions. The best prediction for sea level in the future is simply a linear projection of the history of sea level at the same location in the past, or about 7-8 inches by 2080, for Long Island.”
    Burton 2012

  61. “… potential for abrupt change …” Pulling more hysteria out of your posterior, Robert I. Ellison?

    Since cloud changes could counter CO2, which will you bet on? Pick your hobgoblin.

    I will not agree to altering our society, economy and energy systems based on overwrought speculation.

  62. Ireneusz Palmowski

    A very active storm front over Oklahoma and Texas.

  63. Ireneusz Palmowski

    What is the evidence for climate change?

  64. A failure to distinguish thermodynamically between energy and free energy permeates today’s climate science models. The basic ‘equilibrium’ model postulates that, for every joule entering the system at 5000K, a joule leaves ca. 250K. The Carnot postulate asserts that 95% of incoming free energy is being dissipated. Simplistically, for every 1ev photon entering, 20 0.05ev photons exit. This change in free energy is colloquially called ‘work’, e.g. weather.

    As nearly all incoming energy is already being dissipated, how might more extreme conditions arise? Is energy once dissipated to be redissipated? The U.S. Patent Office would beg to differ.

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  70. You said in your post:

    “Interesting to ponder that Congressional procedural issues are deemed to be more important than Climate Change.”

    I find your blog very informative and interesting, but you don’t seem to care about your own political biases, especially when you get snarky about politics. Oh well, that’s show biz.

    The dispute over the census and the Secy. of Commerce’s response to Congressional oversight is hardly a mere “procedural issue.”

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